So....it's time for that inevitable "reflection" post, where I give all sorts of insight about my experience here in Gaming, and all that. It's currently 22:44, an hour and fifteen minutes to go until midnight Mass. Three more hours, and we start a bus ride to Wien (Vienna). Three more hours, we get to Vienna, and then I get to wait with some other great people for five hours, until our plane leaves for Washington. With a nine-hour flight ahead of us. After that, some flights here and there, until I arrive on terra firma for good, ready to spend a summer in Minnesota, helping with a student film.
So what do I have to blog about? There's all sorts of things, and I'm never going to be able to recap all of them. They say that this semester is supposed to be a formative experience. I could be cliche, and say the same thing, but it's not really cliche, because it's true. I can't quite pin down what it was, but there were just so many ways in which I was indeed shaped and when I grew...or, more properly, opportunities for God to shape me more. I could talk about the classes, I could talk about the travel, I could talk about the closeness with my fellow students. Really, it would have to be the experience itself, fully conveyed through some miraculous means, which would give you the whole story...which means that there'll be parts of the whole story that nobody else will ever manage to hear, simply because I'm not capable of conveying them.
But most importantly, I feel that this was not only an important step in my life, but a necessary step. I've been learning. Learning to hope, to believe, to love, to serve, to pray, and to live. Anything which I knew how to do before, I've learned how to do even more so, in an even fuller force, a far greater manner. I feel far more prepared to face life than ever before. And now I'm setting foot on the next section of my journey. I'm going back home, in a sense. Ever onward, and finding new ground. It's time for me to bring back everything which came to me, and it's time for me to spread it to the people I know and love. It's a task, I suppose, you could say. Yet not one which I am loath to do, obviously. It's a joy.
Am I sad to leave Austria? I suppose so. Yet in another sense, I'm happy. Austria was where I was supposed to be for a semester, but only for a semester. Now, I have other places to be. I have other people to know. Better ways to know the people I already do. New places to apply my knowledge to. Old places to apply my new knowledge to. But most importantly, my direction is always love. I'm just learning more and more what that means, and my departure to the States is another step on that road of learning. God wanted me to be in Austria. God also wants me to be back in the States in the days to come. And I follow, knowing all too well the sage advice of an old and possibly slightly quirky hobbit...
The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.